The NFL Players Association has enlisted science and medical experts to actively study the use of cannabis as an alternative pain management therapy to opioid-based drugs, NFL.com reports. The move comes after two more states with NFL teams — Massachusetts and California — legalized cannabis for adult use.
Cannabis is currently barred by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the association and the league, but NFLPA Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah confirmed that a committee will “look at pain management for NFL players,” but said it was “not a marijuana committee.”
According to an ESPN survey of NFL players released last week, 61 percent indicated they believed that fewer players would take painkiller shots if the league allowed medicinal use of cannabis. Another 42 percent said it would be more effective at managing pain than opioid- based pharmaceuticals.
According to NFL insider Ian Rappaport, the league has “not yet formed a consensus” on the issue, but if the committee recommends changes the NFL and NFLPA will meet to consider those proposals.
Of the 29 states that allow some legal access to cannabis – whether it is medicinal or adult-use – 14 of them host an NFL franchise. Five teams, excluding the Washington Redskins whose home turf is in Landover, not D.C., play their home games in cities that allow adult-use cannabis.